chapter  Sixteen
14 Pages

Trade Union Development in the Ruhr and South Wales, 1890–1914

ByLeighton James

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, South Wales and the Ruhr were two major powerhouses of the industrial revolution. Those who have commented on trade union development in South Wales and the Ruhr tend to explain these differences either in terms of the pattern of industrialization or of the different degree of religious and ethnic diversity in the mining communities. In an effort to justify the latest wage demand, much of trade union activists' language in both South Wales and the Ruhr was heavily factual, and comprised a mass of figures and statistics concerned with wages, prices and the cost of living. It was in disputes over these figures that the underlying economic concerns of the trade unions were most evident. This chapter attempts highlight the role that discourse and organizational identities played in the development of the trade-union movements in South Wales and the Ruhr before the First World War.